Running is more than exercise. Lessons that I learned from running with a coach are these:
1. Your mind will give up faster than your body. That is true in my life too. My mind will try to trick me into thinking I am too tired, that I can't do this anymore that the finish line is too far ahead. But just as my body can keep going if the coach runs beside me or someone cheers me on, I can run the race set before me if I listen not to my mind, but to what I have been trained to. The coach will run beside me and he will be saying: "keep going, you have been training for this, your body can do it". I have to remember in my daily life, I have been trained and I am being trained by a great coach. And He knows what I can do, I must trust Him.
2. There is a wonderful climbing wall beside the running track, and sometimes (OK, every time) as I run, I get distracted watching kids climb the wall. It looks so neat, and so fun!. Every time the coach passes by me, he yells: "Norma! keep your eyes in the track!, keep your time!" . How true this is in my daily life. I need my husband, children, friends, family to keep reminding me to keep my eyes not on the distractions of this world, but in the race I am running. I can lose time, I can lose my pace, I can even hurt myself. But that reminder from my coach or my friend, is of great value. I need people beside me, that will keep encouraging me and others in this race.
3.Every race is temporal. It always finishes, yet every time I go, is a training process. I battle with my mind as I struggle with thoughts of doubt whether or not I can finish it. But the struggle is good. I need the push, I need the pain because I grow stronger with it. But it will finish one day, and I will have my final crown, my final rest.
4. After a long run, we are supposed to run very slow to recover... not walking.. it must be a slow shuffle. Today I decided to walk for a bit. WRONG! The coach passed by and asked if I was OK, I said yes, and then he said: Then why are you walking? That is the way I am in my spiritual life. I should be recovering in a way that I am still in that race, but sometimes I decide to walk. I walk and I lose focus. I walk and I need people beside me checking if I am OK and if I am, then I need to continue on that same attitude and not walk. I need someone who says: What are you learning lately? What is it that the Lord is working in you? Are you being faithful in your prayer? Are you keeping your eyes on heaven? And maybe run along with me for a while, when I am finding it hard.
5. How encouraging is to run with others! It is much easy than getting up and going on my own. The same is true of my spiritual race. It is easier to run the race when I know I am not alone. There are other Christians running with me. Not right beside me, but with the same purpose. I see some pass by faster than me, others are slower, but we are all running. And as we pass our fellow Christians or they pass us, the words of encouragement are heard: Keep it up!, Keep going! You can do it! Don't give up! The finish line is closer!
6. When I am running, I rely on my own mind and strength. But in my christian life, is even better, because I rely on One who is strong. Who gives me the strength I need to finish, and One who runs by my side every moment. And even when I slow down and when I get tired, He has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. When I run, I could quit and nothing happens, but in the race towards heaven, I cannot quit, not because I will lose my salvation or because I am strong and I can, on my own merit, continue. But because it is the Lord who gives me the strength to continue. And I cannot quit, because He will not let me do so. All I am asked is to not give in to the games of my mind, and bring every thought captive to His Word.
7. There is a time when you are running that you start running on lactic acid (not that I do that often... OK.... maybe I have never ran on acid), but I know people who run seriously, they do. I am not there yet. But the point is, sometimes it will be harder that others, and you keep running... you do not stop because is hard. Yo keep up, you run, you beat your own time, you work at it with sweat and tears. But never forgetting that He is the one giving you the strength.. you could not run if it was not because of Him.
8. The feeling after a hard workout, is great! To know that is finished! .... Can you imagine the feeling when we get to the finish line to our Father's arms? I know for sure that the rest will be sweet. And then, when I receive the Reward in exchange will be a glorious day! The Reward? Jesus! Jesus is our reward!
And this is some that I have learned so far, I am sure there is much more I will learn as I run the race.